MANY generations of Defoe's readers have smiled at Man Friday's amazement when his master, rescued at last from his island exile, introduced him to the noisy, glittering civilization of London. Yet any European of the fourteenth century B.C., unless he were an inhabitant of Minoan Crete, would have experienced the same feelings as Crusoe's faithful servant if he had had the chance to visit the new capital of Amenhôtep IV.
I shall ask the reader to join me in a rapid tour of this capital, Akhetaten, which rose from the desert at the will of a revolutionary Pharaoh. He will then appreciate, from the outset, the extent and originality of Egypt's achievement in the realm of art.
The city stretched along the river-bank for a good six miles, its districts grouped round the main sacred and imperial buildings, and linked by broad avenues and geometrically planned streets. On the principal thoroughfares stood the residences of the great court functionaries and imperial officials, surrounded by gardens with pools and summer-houses. Most of these dwellings were made to a set plan, with slight variations in each case, and comprised not only reception and domestic apartments, but also every additional convenience, such as bathrooms, which could minister to the comfort of the inhabitants. The temples and the main palace stood in the Royal Avenue, which ran parallel to the river. This avenue was spanned by a great brick bridge, joining the two wings of the palace, which lay on opposite sides of the road.
The architecture of these palaces in no way gives the impression of a piece of routine work, done to satisfy a client who wanted his residence enlarged by degrees. The plans show a real sense of design; there are spacious colonnaded courts, opening into magnificent reception halls, but there are also private